Relationship between cognitive impairment and clinical status in chronic heart failure patients.

S. Callegari, G. Majani, A. Giardini, A. Pierobon, C. Opasich, F. Cobelli, L. Tavazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: In spite of its clinical importance, cognitive functioning is not always taken into account in studies on patients with chronic heart failure. The aim of the present study is to analyse the relationship between cognitive impairment and cardiovascular variables in a sample of patients with chronic heart failure for assessment or candidated for heart transplant. METHODS: Sixty-four male patients with chronic heart failure in NYHA class I-III, in a stable clinical condition, underwent cardiological evaluation and neuropsychological assessment by means of a wide battery of tests: Spinnler and Tognoni's tests and WAIS scale. RESULTS: Compared to the normative group, only 9% of patients did not have impairment in any cognitive function. 26% of patients had impairment of one cognitive function, and 30% of four or more cognitive functions. The cognitive functions that were most often impaired were short-term verbal memory, short-term visual spatial memory, differed verbal memory and verbal learning and visual spatial logical ability. On the whole, no statistical significant relationship was found between cognitive scores and the considered cardiovascular variables. CONCLUSIONS: Our data support the need to take into account the risk of cognitive impairment in CHF patients, regardless of age, disease severity or functional status. The high prevalence of short-term verbal memory impairment has important implications in clinical practice, since CHF patients should be actively involved in the medical management of their disease. Memory deficits could compromise patient's adherence to treatment as well as doctor-patient interactions. The practical consequences of these difficulties require some changes in doctors' behaviour and suggest the need for specific medical staff member training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalMonaldi Archives for Chest Disease - Cardiac Series
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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